Students can really benefit from the flexibility of attending an online college and earning a degree online. It’s great for stay-a-home Mom’s and Dads, students who relocate or travel frequently, people with a full-time job or those that are looking to advance a career, active in the military or just those that are looking to better their education and achieve their goals faster.
This being said, an online college education requires a different type of preparation than a traditional brick and mortar school. They are indeed very different so before you start here are 5 things you will want to keep in mind. The good news is you probably have accomplished all five!
#1 – It is NOT an “Easy Way Out”
I think the biggest misconception people have about online colleges is that it is going to be easier than a traditional education. That for some reason the fact that you are doing most everything on the computer makes it easy. This is far from the truth. Sure you don’t have to drive to campus, find a parking spot, walk to class but you still need to have the available time to put into an online education. You still need to carve out solid time to watch lectures, study and take tests. A good question to ask yourself is this: “Am I willing to sacrifice time to attend a regular college?” If the answer is yes, then you can make the time for online college.
#2 – Technology learning curve
Now this is the part that many people have already mastered. Checking websites, email, sharing files… you know the stuff most of us online do on a regular basis. If you can do this then you are ready for online college. But lets say perhaps you struggle to do these things…perhaps it’s time to invest a little in learning the basics of using a computer before you invest your time in online college. It’s not hard once you get the hang of it.
#3 – Scheduling time is critical
Ok here is the real truth… if you don’t schedule your time with your online college classes your chance of success is almost zero. You see typical college you are actually forced to be at a certain time and a certain place. With online colleges, many times this is still the case. Many classes are held live and certain exams and quizzes must be completed in a certain time-frame. Even if your course work is not live you still need to schedule out time when you will be “in school”. Make sure you actually schedule out the weeks, days and hours on which you will be working on your education.
#4 – You must interact!
Have you ever been in a class where the teacher calls you out in front of the class cause they can tell you were not paying attention? Guess what? Online professions know when you are paying attention to their class and keep track of who is engaging and who is not. This will correlate to better grades for you so make sure you treat it as you were there live and answer question and give feedback.
#5 – Yes you get to go to a graduation and throw that cap in the air!
Ok so maybe they won’t let you throw your cap in the air but just like brick and mortar colleges most online colleges actually have physical graduation ceremonies you can attend. How cool is that! There is something to be said about being recognized and it’s a great accomplishment to do so. Now here is the cool thing about online colleges… when you complete it you actually get your degree immediately. You don’t have to wait for a graduation ceremony! Bonus right!